Part One: How to Attract Multiple Guests to Your Church on Sunday Mornings with Minimal Effort or Expense
by Kathy Copas
Coordinator of Communication and Evangelism
Huh? Seriously? As a matter of fact, YES! It is actually much easier than you think. Over the summer months here in The Gathered Community, I’ll be offering some simple techniques that may work for you and your parish as you seek to create greater awareness and attract new energy and community connectedness to your own Sunday morning experience. All of these techniques have a common root—recognition. I would define recognition as discovering what small but important things are happening in your community and creatively exploring ways they can be integrated into the context of your Sunday morning worship experience.
Let’s say you just read on social media or in the newspaper that a local middle school band ensemble of 12 just won first place at a recent state music competition. This was actually a real-life scenario for one of our parishes I have worked with recently. Chances are these students, in the midst of feeling pretty good within their own circle of family and friends about what they have achieved, are feeling as though their achievement isn’t particularly important to the rest of the world.
What if you contacted their director and told them your parish had heard about their recent honor and wanted to invite them to perform one Sunday morning and receive a Community Spirit Award certificate from your church? The July 4 weekend is coming up. Perhaps that would be a great opportunity to have a school band group like that perform an arrangement of one of the national songs in our hymnal during Offertory?
Anyone can produce a nice certificate on their computer and print it on a piece of quality paper. Nice frames are available for as low as $1.00 at the Dollar Tree or Dollar General stores. You could present the award during church announcement time and take a pic and/or video, disseminating it on social media and submitting it to your hometown newspaper. It would also be great to video their performance and post it up on social media, as well. Maybe this would also be a great time to stream your worship service through Facebook’s new live tool. All of this positions your church as being very community-minded and as a place that values and celebrates the talents and contributions of local youth.
Best of all, think about the possibilities for what happens when 12 young people from a local middle school perform just a simple piece of music in your church? You get those young people there but also some of their friends, mothers and fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings, school officials… you get the idea. In extending just a simple act of recognition and hospitality, you will be able to introduce many new people to your church, many of whom are likely unchurched or de-churched.
The possibilities for this strategy are endless. What if you committed to trying it once a month, recognizing the talents of different individuals or groups of achievers? Consider:
• Giving a lauded community theatre group an opportunity to interpret a Biblical story from the lectionary
• Inviting a winning dance school group to share through liturgical dance
• Encouraging local honored student painters or sculptors to listen to the lectionary and express it through their art as your worship proceeds
All you have to do, especially in a small community, is to scour through your local newspaper and social media to discover lots of possibilities and persons who could be recognized for their achievements. Good luck and let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org).what you tried and how it worked!
Until next month,